Arrive in Quito and transfer to your hotel to check in. Depending on your arrival time, you may have time to explore this preserved colonial city which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meet your tour leader and the rest of the group this evening in a welcome meeting.
Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton (Dinner included)
After breakfast enjoy a city tour, exploring the narrow streets in the old town visiting important monuments such as: La Basilica church, la Compania De Jesus gold church, the main independence square, Cathedral church and el Panecillo natural lookout of the city. Afterwards you will visit the nearby markets with a local expert to buy local products such as vegetables, fruits, grains etc for lunch. You will help prepare your lunch with a knowledgeable local cook who will introduce you to the best flavours of the Ecuador Andean Highlights.
Overnight: Hotel Dann Carlton (Breakfast and lunch included)
Quito – Mindo Cloud Forest
Today you adventure begins by driving north to witness the equator monument complex, where you are able to stand on both sides of the hemisphere at the same time, visiting the middle of the world is a must! On your way you will stop to view the Pululahua crater, which is the third largest inhabited volcanic crater in the world, home to more than 400 people. Your next stop is the little town of Mindo, nestled into the cloud forest filled with a wide variety of plants and animal life. A great introduction to the diversity of Ecuador and a birdwatcher’s paradise for hummingbirds.
In the afternoon you will visit a chocolate distributor for a guided tour to learn the process of the cocoa, from harvesting the seed to its final product, a delicious bar of chocolate.
Overnight: Septimo Paraiso (Breakfast included)
Mindo Cloud Forest
Explore the pristine cloud rainforest of Mindo by crossing cable cars, hiking along waterfalls surrounded by lush green forest filled with the iconic toucans and hummingbirds. In the afternoon you have some free time to explore on your own or join an optional excursion such as; white-water rafting, tubing through thrilling rapids or zipline over the beautiful canopy of the cloud forest. A highlight of the day is a visit to the butterfly nursery where you will watch gargantuan butterflies dry their wings after emerging from their cocoons.
Overnight: Septimo Paraiso (Breakfast included)
Mindo Cloud Forest – Otavalo
Your adventure continues by driving back into the highlands and reaching the Pan-American Highway to the famous indigenous town of Otavalo. Upon arrival you have some time to stroll along the narrow cobblestone streets, visit the market for colourful textiles, native paintings, ceramics, jewellery, tapestries and handicrafts made by the locals.
This afternoon you will drive to Cotacachi to witness the impressive leather goods the town has to offer whilst enjoying the beauty of this small village. Here you have some free time to explore the shops or sit people watching whilst sipping one of the best coffees in Ecuador in the main plaza.
Later you will arrive at the beautiful, historical Hacienda Pinsaqui where you will be greeted with a typical Andean cocktail and learn the history of the place.
Overnight: Hacienda Pinsaqui (Breakfast and dinner included)
Otavalo – Papallacta Hot Springs
Your first stop of the day will be to Cotacachi Cayapas Ecological Reserve to see the breathing scenery of the crystal-clear waters of the active volcano and surrounding area. You will hike the hour long walk along the rim of the Cuicocha Crater lake to join a boat ride to the centre of the crater to observe the bubbling waters of the volcano.
Later you will travel to the small village of Peguche, located in the heart of the Andes. You will help the local people prepare a delicious lunch using fresh produce harvested the same day from the surrounding organic fields. Late afternoon you will reach the luxury volcanic hot springs resort of Papallacta, where you have the chance to relax in the open-air hot springs whilst being surrounded by the majestic Andean mountains.
Overnight: Papallacta Spa Resort (Breakfast and lunch included)
Papallacta Hot Springs – Quito
Drive south on the Pan-American Highway to Cotopaxi, highest active volcano in the world. The snow-capped volcano is surrounded by the national park, home to and abundant of plant life, rich in fauna and Inca ruins. You begin your visit at the interpretation centre at the entrance of the park, before continuing your drive across the paramo to Limpiopungo lake. Observe a variety of birds and stunning views of the symmetrical cone of Cotopaxi volcano during a short walk around the lake. Afterwards, drive to Quito for dinner.
Overnight: Dann Carlton Hotel (Breakfast included)
Quito –Galapagos Islands
Board a morning flight from Quito to the island of San Cristobal where upon arrival you will transfer to the hotel and check in. In the afternoon you will visit La Loberia beach which is home to the large Galapagos sea lions. Snorkel and swim amongst these curios animals or observe them as they doze on the rocks for a nap in the sun. watch out for yellow warbler birds, frigate birds, several species of Darwin’s finches along the beach whilst looking for marine iguanas between the rocks which can only be seen in the Galapagos.
Overnight: Hotel Blue Marling (Breakfast included)
Galapagos Islands – Isla Lobos Island
After breakfast you will be transferred to the dock where you will take a quick boat ride to nearby Isla Lobos or Kicker Rock. Enjoy a guided tour of the island where you will get a chance to see the famous blue-footed boobies, manta and on occasions sharks who inhabit the island. Relax or swim on the white coral beaches of San Cristobal before returning to Puerto Baquerizo Moreno where you will visit the interpretation centre, walk to the frigate hill and Punta Carola to witness many frigates flying around the sky at eye level. End the walk with a beautiful sunset by Punta Carola.
Overnight: Hotel Blue Marling (Breakfast and box lunch included)
Galapagos Islands – Santa Cruz
This morning traverse to Santa Cruz Island to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station where you will learn more about many of the endemic species you have seen in the wild, the ongoing conservation and managements of the islands. Your afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the largest city of the Galapagos Islands, perhaps explore the local markets or Tortuga Bay which is amongst one of the nicest beaches in the archipelago.
Overnight: Silberstein Hotel (Breakfast included)
Galapagos Islands – Santa Cruz
Visit the El Chato reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz, home to the famous Galapagos tortoises. Hike through the beautiful landscape of the El Chato reserves with these majestic giants is an unforgettable experience. See other highland wildlife such as; pintail ducks, egrets, flycatchers, finches and frigate birds who all gather around the fresh water lake to take a dip. Lunch will be provided at a local farm before returning to Puerto Ayora for the evening.
Overnight: Silberstein Hotel (Breakfast and lunch included)
Galapagos Island Hopping
Today you navigate the nearby islands of Santa Fe, north Seymour and Bartolomeo in search of the homes of many different species of animals. These islands are the best places to see land iguanas, Galapagos sea lions, fur seals, sea birds such as swallow-tailed gulls, shearwater, tropicbirds and if you are really lucky the romantic dance of the blue-footed boobies. Throughout the day you will walk, snorkel and swim around the islands.
Overnight: Silberstein Hotel (Breakfast, lunch and dinner included)
Galapagos Islands – Guayaquil
Transfer back to Baltra’s airport for your flight back to Guayaquil on the mainland to catch your international flight home.